A story on Steller


#thejoyofcats #deadbird #threshold #gift


Someone told me this Steller story was inappropriate. I don’t think so. I will admit, I was in a strange mood when I published this. My neighbour had just died; I didn’t even know she was ill.

The day she died a man who followed me on Instagram sent me a dick pic. Several days before he’d asked me if he could send me a drawing of him that someone had done. “Yeah, of course”, I said. Then came the ‘dick pic’ which, on reflection, I should have been expecting. I had been about to leave the house when it arrived and so I left my phone at home and resolved to block him as soon as I got back.

When I got home there were several ambulances outside my house, a helicopter overhead and then the police arrived. I was using what I shall refer to as ‘the studio’ that day to coat some paper in cyanotype chemicals. Studio is a bit much really; it’s a shed with some black out blinds and lights in it. It’s at the end of my garden, and several neighbouring houses face it as they run along the length of my garden which is currently missing a fence. I was in the studio when a ‘private ambulance’ came to one of those houses. Men dressed in black suits and sunglasses got out and went into one of the houses. Twenty minutes later they drove away. And it was like nothing had happened. Someone is dead (I wasn’t sure which member of their family at that point). Let’s not mention it.

Obviously, I forgot all about the offending Instagram image until I got more messages, the first with a sad face 😦 and then another asking me if I was shocked. That pissed me off.

I have seen a penis before. And it’s not the first time I’ve been sent a photo of one. So no, I said, I’m not shocked by the sight of a penis. My neighbour just died, I’m shocked about that. I feel sad, I need some sleep. Why did I even bother to discuss this? Because there is a feeling that people must, surely, be capable of being reasoned with at some level. But clearly not. I Googled ‘how to block on Instagram’ so I was just in time for the messages asking me if I liked what he’d sent. I certainly didn’t like being hassled to explain my feelings about being sent an unrequested and unwanted photo of a penis when I’d just explained what happened that day.

What’s it got to do with cats? I don’t know really, but there was certainly a link beyond the obvious theme of death, one that I am trying to work out. Whatever it is I think it’s partly expressed in this ‘story’ on Steller. I suppose there is something about the hidden and the revealed. There is no-one to hide the cat kills from me. No men in black suits to collect them and pretend like this never happened. Yesterday they left another large dead bird in the middle of the dining room, very much like the one in the photograph. I picked it up and it was heavier than I thought it would be. I felt sad about it. There is something particularly sad about a dead bird. Perhaps it is Dr Newby’s (my old maths lecturer) seagull photographs; they remind me of him and I still miss him sometimes. I don’t want to hide all this crap stuff because at some level I feel it takes away the power we all have. I am uncomfortable with covering up all of these unpleasant aspects of everyday life, fed up with the perfect people and their perfect lives and their perfect clothes and their clean cars and cute (killer) kittens that aren’t black because they won’t photograph well and all of that. It’s all so depressing and boring and false that I quite appreciate the honesty of my cats now, even if I don’t like clearing up after them.

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